Louisiana State University Press, 2018. — 160 p.Taking an archaeological perspective on the past, Jeffrey S. Girard traces native human habitation in northwest Louisiana from the end of the last Ice Age, through the formation of the Caddo culture in the tenth century BCE, to the early nineteenth century. Employing the results of recent scientific investigations, The Caddos and Their Ancestors depicts a distinct and dynamic population spanning from precolonial times to the dawn of the modern era.Girard grounds his research in the material evidence that defined Caddo culture long before the appearance of Europeans in the late seventeenth century. Reliance solely on documented observations by explorers and missionaries - which often reflect a Native American population with a static past - propagates an incomplete account of history. By using specific archaeological techniques, Girard reveals how the Caddos altered their lives to cope with ever-changing physical and social environments across thousands of years. This illuminating approach contextualizes the remnants of houses, mounds, burials, tools, ornaments, and food found at Native American sites in northwest Louisiana. Through ample descriptions and illustrations of these archaeological finds, Girard deepens understanding of the social organization, technology, settlement, art, and worldviews of this resilient society.This long-overdue examination of an often-overlooked cultural force provides a thorough yet concise history of the 14,000 years the Caddo people and their predecessors survived and thrived in what is now Louisiana.Jeffrey S. Girard served as regional archaeologist for the Louisiana Division of Archaeology and retired from the faculty of Northwestern State University after twenty-six years. He was Louisiana Archaeologist of the Year in 2015.
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